EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Memorial Day is a day to remember all the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who have given their lives during the past 248 years of U.S. history.

For some, Memorial Day means an extra day off from work, a chance to fire up the grill and socialize with friends and family, maybe hit the mall in search of sales and bargains.

That’s all great, but Memorial Day is really about reflecting and remembering the brave men and women who gave so much.

The phrase “all gave some, some gave all” is often heard at this time of year.

The words are generally attributed to Korean War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Howard William Osterkamp of Ohio but the phrase really gets to the true spirit and meaning of Memorial Day.

Since the U.S. Army was established in 1775, the year before the Declaration of Independence was signed, more than 1.1 million Americans have been killed in all wars the country has been involved in.

The color guard from William Beaumont Army Medical Center folds a U.S. flag at the Old Glory Memorial in Northeast El Paso on Memorial Day. Photo by Miguel Paredes/KTSM

One point one million paying the ultimate sacrifice. Think about that for a second.

That’s from the Revolutionary War through the Global War on Terrorism.

No matter what war, battle or skirmish, Americans have answered the call to defend the nation and our allies, more often than not with great distinction and bravery.

With the all-volunteer service since the end of the Vietnam War, now less than 1 percent of the U.S. population serves in the military.

Here in El Paso, your neighbor may be in the Army stationed at Fort Bliss. You see soldiers at the store, the mall, at church.

It’s easy to forget that at a moment’s notice they may be called to deploy halfway across the world and face unimaginable dangers. It’s a call of duty they gladly and willingly answer every single time.

But this weekend, go ahead and fire up that grill and throw back your beverage of choice, but also remember the reason for this long three-day weekend.

If you are looking for a way to get into the true spirit of Memorial Day, Fort Bliss will be holding its annual Memorial Day ceremony at 9 a.m. Monday, May 29 at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery, 5200 Fred Wilson Ave. That’s right across the street from the City’s Animal Services Center.

It’s easy to get to; you don’t even have to go through a gate at Fort Bliss to reach the cemetery.

At Concordia Cemetery, a ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday will honor the “forgotten veterans” buried at the cemetery with a special tribute to World War I veterans.